Venezuela faces calls for probe after opposition activist dies in custody
12 October, 2018, 06:20
Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said via Twitter that the opposition politician had been detained at SEBIN since Oct 5, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the opposition party's coordinator Julio Borges, Alban's lifeless body was then thrown from the SEBIN's headquarters, located on Caracas' Plaza Venezuela.
Venezuela's Attorney General Tarek William Saab said Monday that jailed councilman Fernando Alberto Alban Salazar, who was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a failed assassination attempt on President Nicolas Maduro, has died of suicide.
Alban's party, First Justice, blamed the government for the death.
As worldwide criticism of Maduro's government grew, Alban's family, fellow politicians and family members of other jailed activists paid a final tribute to him Tuesday in a ceremony at the opposition-controlled Congress.
In brief comments on state TV, he said Alban was in the waiting room of the headquarters of Venezuela's intelligence police waiting to be transferred to a courthouse when he asked to use the bathroom.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is in Venezuela for meetings with Maduro and his opponents, called Alban's death while in the government's custody "disturbing".
"Those of us who knew Fernando know that he could NEVER have acted against his life", he said on Twitter.
The United States imposed new sanctions on several of Maduro's top allies last week as President Donald Trump urged UN members to support a "restoration of democracy" in Venezuela.
"And he didn't do it".
The opposition and rights groups have said that Maduro's administration is holding hundreds of political prisoners on trumped-up charges meant to stifle dissent.
Authorities have arrested at least 30 people linked to the drone explosions on August 2, which injured seven soldiers.
The government has denied that it is detaining people as political prisoners and said they were fairly jailed.
The city councilman's lawyer, Joel Garcia, told reporters it was too soon to confirm whether the case was a suicide. He said Alban told him that he had been interrogated but not tortured.
The United States in August condemned alleged arbitrary detentions and forced confessions by the Venezuelan government in its investigation of the drone incident.
Former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, also a First Justice member, said that what happened "is the regime's full responsibility". "This criminal dictatorship must go now from Venezuela", OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said on Twitter.
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